OAP faces surgery after saving wife in dog attack

A HEROIC pensioner remains in hospital after suffering a vicious dog attack while trying to protect his wife.
Andrew Russell protected his wife, Dot, from the American bulldog. Picture: contributedAndrew Russell protected his wife, Dot, from the American bulldog. Picture: contributed
Andrew Russell protected his wife, Dot, from the American bulldog. Picture: contributed

Andrew Russell, 90, is facing surgery for the horrific injuries he sustained from the American bulldog.

Mr Russell intervened when the dog broke free from its owner and lunged at his wife, Dot in Main Street, West Calder, on Saturday afternoon.

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The elderly couple had been out for a walk when the animal went for Mrs Russell and knocked her off her feet.

Frail Mr Russell – who walks with a Zimmer – managed to wrestle the animal to protect his wife of 69 years.

When he put his arms up to protect his face, the dog bit him – tearing off a large chunk of skin.

Mr Russell, who celebrated his 90th birthday just two weeks ago, is recovering at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, where doctors plan to give him a skin graft.

But due to his age, they are being particularly cautious about the type of operation they can perform.

His grandson, Ryan Irvine, said today that Mr Russell was “in a lot of pain and discomfort”.

The 40-year-old said: “It’s been quite traumatic. My grandad has been quite ill over the past few years. He is quite frail so this is quite a lot for him to put up with.”

Mr Irvine said that members of the West Calder community were hailing his grandfather as a hero, but the modest nonagenarian has dismissed it, saying he was “doing what he had to do”.

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Mr Irvine said: “It’s quite remarkable that he tried to get in between his wife and the dog.”

The dog has been seized by police and a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal, but the owner has not been charged.

Mr Irvine said the traumatic incident showed that more needed to be done to raise awareness of dog attacks, particularly after high-profile cases involving young children and the elderly.

Just a day after the West Calder incident, a man in County Durham reportedly lost an arm after his two American bulldogs turned on him.

Mr Irvine said his family was overwhelmed by the support from the people who stopped to help his elderly grandparents during the attack.

He added: “There were lots of witnesses and passers-by who jumped to help – one man also suffered bites when trying to get the dog off my grandfather.

“Thankfully they were more than willing to intervene. If they hadn’t I do not think he would have survived the attack.

“We want to thank people who came to help.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “The dog, which was not a banned breed, was seized by police and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”